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Record Number of U.S. Colleges and Universities Offering Courses and Degrees in Computer and Video Game Design and Development


Trend Reflects Growing Economic and Social Significance of Video Game Industry

WASHINGTON, DC – A record number of colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning – 254 in 37 states and the District of Columbia – now offer courses and degrees in computer and video game design, programming, and art. From certificate programs in 3D Animation & Interactive Media (Boston University) to master’s degrees in Computer Graphics and Game Technology (University of Pennsylvania), the programs reflect the growing importance of video games on the economy and culture of the United States.

Research by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) found that California is home to 46 institutions of higher learning – the most of any state – offering such courses or degrees. Other states in the top 10 are: New York (21); Texas (20); Florida (19); Illinois (16); Pennsylvania (12); Massachusetts (11); Washington (9); Georgia (8); Arizona, Michigan, and Colorado (7).

Last year, just over 200 colleges and universities offered courses or degrees in computer and video game design, programming, and art. Rich Taylor, senior vice president for communications and industry affairs at the ESA, sees the growth as a reflection of the expanding role of video games in our society.

“Today, video games are not only the fastest growing entertainment medium, they are also increasingly used in education and business for professional training and e-learning,” said Taylor. “These new college programs underscore the importance of the video games industry, which is well-poised to create additional employment and professional opportunities in the coming years.”

More Americans are playing computer and video games than ever before. According to the ESA’s 2009 Essential Facts about Computer and Video Games booklet, 68 percent of American households now play video games and 42 percent of American homes have a video game console. Among the game playing audience there is wide diversity with young and old, men and women all enjoying the interactive entertainment games provide.

Computer and video games are also used today for more serious pursuits. A study conducted last year by KRC Research revealed that 70 percent of major employers utilize interactive software, including games, to train employees. And 75 percent of these businesses plan to expand their usage within the next three to five years.

The growing use of games has positively impacted our nation’s economy. Over the past 12 years, annual computer and video game software sales have more than quadrupled to $11.7 billion with overall computer and video game industry sales climbing to a record $22 billion in 2008. Fueled by these strong sales, the video game industry has become a key contributor to the American workforce. According to a report by Economists Incorporated, computer and video game companies directly and indirectly employed more than 80,000 people across 31 states, with a total compensation of $2.2 billion in 2006.

As computer and video games extend their reach into more facets of American society, academic institutions at all levels have responded. Over the next decade, even more art schools, community colleges, and traditional universities are expected to expand their course offerings in game design and development, further demonstrating that computer and video games are more than just play.

The Entertainment Software Association is the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet. The ESA offers services to interactive entertainment software publishers including a global anti-piracy program, owning the E3 Expo, business and consumer research, federal and state government relations, First Amendment and intellectual property protection efforts. For more information, please visit

For a list of colleges, universities and trade schools across the U.S. now offering video game courses and degrees, please click here:


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